Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can putting your child before yourself make you a happier person?

Date:
October 31, 2013
Source:
SAGE Publications
Summary:
While popular media often depicts highly-involved parents negatively as "helicopter parents" or "tiger moms, how does placing one's children at the center of family life really affect parental well-being? New research finds that parents who prioritize their children's well-being over their own are not only happier, but also derive more meaning in life from their child-rearing responsibilities.

Can putting your child before yourself make you a happier person?
Credit: detailblick / Fotolia

While popular media often depicts highly-involved parents negatively as "helicopter parents" or "tiger moms, how does placing one's children at the center of family life really affect parental well-being? New research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science finds that parents who prioritize their children's well-being over their own are not only happier, but also derive more meaning in life from their child-rearing responsibilities.

Related Articles


"These findings stand in contrast to claims in the popular media that prioritizing children's well-being undermines parents' well-being," the researchers wrote.

Researchers Claire E. Ashton-James, Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth W. Dunn conducted two studies with a total of 322 parents. In Study 1, parents were asked to complete a child-centrism scale to measure their parenting style and were then given a survey to measure the happiness and meaning in life that they experienced from having children by responding to statements such as "My children make my life meaningful." The researchers found that more child-centric parents were significantly more likely to report higher happiness and a sense of purpose in life derived from having children.

In Study 2, participants were asked to retell their previous day's activities and report how they felt during each activity. The results indicated that more child-centric parents had greater positive feelings, less negative feelings, and experienced more meaning in life during child-care activities. In addition, the well-being of more child-centric parents was not affected negatively throughout the rest of the day, suggesting that the child-centric approach to parenting does not hurt parental well-being when parents are not taking care of their children.

"These findings suggest that the more care and attention people give to others, the more happiness and meaning they experience," the authors wrote. "From this perspective, the more invested parents are in their children's well-being -- that is, the more 'child centric' parents are -- the more happiness and meaning they will derive from parenting."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. E. Ashton-James, K. Kushlev, E. W. Dunn. Parents Reap What They Sow: Child-Centrism and Parental Well-Being. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2013; 4 (6): 635 DOI: 10.1177/1948550613479804

Cite This Page:

SAGE Publications. "Can putting your child before yourself make you a happier person?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031175659.htm>.
SAGE Publications. (2013, October 31). Can putting your child before yourself make you a happier person?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031175659.htm
SAGE Publications. "Can putting your child before yourself make you a happier person?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031175659.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins